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Genealogy Resources at the WVRHC

Genealogy Resources at the WVRHC

If you're just getting started with Genealogy, please check out our  Genealogy Research page.

Archive and Manuscript Materials

Many Archive and Manuscript collections contain genealogical and family history information.  Search the  Guide to Archives & Manscripts using keywords such as family names and locations to discover relevant holdings.  Researchers must visit the Center to use manuscripts and must follow our policy.  Some of the more extensive genealogy collections were compiled by:

Margaret Ballard (A&M  2537)

Thomas Ray Dille (A&M  171)

Lyman Draper (A&M  3045)

Joseph C. Jefferds (A&M  1983)

Mary McKendree Johnson (A&M  1100 and  1132)

Joseph Kellogg (A&M Microfilm  1626

Frederick B. Lambert (A&M Microfilm  1244)

Minnie Kendall Lowther (A&M  740)

Minnie McWhorter (A&M Microfilm  928)

W. Guy Tetrick (A&M Microfilm  1306 and  A&M 3230 Series 7)



The WVRHC’s  West Virginia book collection contains numerous sources of genealogical information.  To find books, search the  library catalog by keyword, title, author, or subject.  Books from the WVRHC cannot be checked out; they must be used on site. However, you may be able to use interlibrary loan through your local library to request a book or a book chapter.

While visiting the WVRHC, you may browse the shelves by call number:

Type of Book  Call Number Range
General Histories of West Virginia  975.4
City, Town and Regional histories 975.411 - .499
City Directories  917.542 - .5499
Biographies    920.0754
Family Histories and Genealogies 929.2
Births, Deaths, Marriage Records, Cemetery Readings 929.3

Please note, we also have a few books which compile the histories of prominent Virginia and West Virginia families listed on our Family Histories page, and our book collection also includes compilations of genealogical data such as indexes and directories.


A number of online resources are available to help with genealogy research.  Our  databases page links to Ancestry, Heritage Quest, and Fold3 among others.  These sites are excellent sources for census records, vital statistics, and military records.  *Please note: all researchers may use these databases on the computers at the WVRHC.  Users must be affiliated with West Virginia University to access these databases from off campus.


The WVRHC has a variety of maps available in an extensive collection of individual maps, Archives & Manuscripts collections, atlases, and history books.  Find more information about map holdings on our  Maps, Atlases, and Gazetteers page.

Personal Name Index

The personal name index is a card index for 50 books on West Virginia and regional history located in the Main Reading Room of the WVRHC.  The index and books must be used at the Center. These 50 books are important books, but they only represent a small fraction of the genealogy resources at the WVRHC.  They may be a good starting place for your research. You can find a list of some of these books on our biographies page.


The WVRHC holds the largest collection of West Virginia newspapers in existence.  A selection of West Virginia newspapers has been digitized and made available through the Library of Congress’  Chronicling America project.  The majority of the collection is available on microfilm at the Center.  Detailed information about the WVRHC’s newspaper holdings is available on our  West Virginia Newspapers page.

Public Records

The WVRHC’s  public records collection includes  county court records, the  Historic Records Survey, as well as information about using  census records.